“Low-Flying Fish” reads the cautionary sign above Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market. Jokesters, you think, paying no attention at all to the real possibility of fish in flight. Yet here at this quaint segue of Seattle’s fresh flowers and fruit, the unexpected happens.
Let me explain for those not familiar with this little corner of quirkiness. In the mid-eighties the Fish Market was your average, boring counter for the purchasing of steelhead, copperhead, and crab. A wallflower of a business. They were also nearly bankrupt.
In the face of losing it all, this company made like a salmon and headed upstream against the current of instinct. Rather than attempt to cling to what little they had left—holding it all in place with super glue and extra-human strength, they decided to abandon the practical. Instead of gasping to stay alive for just another day, they shifted the paradigm and began to ask how they could grasp at more of life? Forget ordinary, let’s be famous.
Today they are famous—for throwing fish. Every time a fish is purchased, this booth in the market whoops it up like a nation celebrating newfound freedom. Flinging and frolicking fish dance about above the heads of singing and shouting marketers. It’s fun. Loud. Unpredictable. Jokes punctuate purchases. Smiles and laughter crowded in. Yes, beware of low-flying fish. They have a way of awakening you from the ordinary life of bottom lines and pennies on the dollar to the carefree abandon of letting go and letting life delight you.
When everything is being lost, few of us have the courage to let go. Grasping is reflex. Like blinking, we will cling to whatever is in our hands just so they will not feel the ache of empty. But the story of Pike’s Place flying fish is that sometimes we have to let go. We have to stop grasping at status quo, at survival, and start living. With the excitement of possibility. We need to forget ordinary, let’s be famous! Famously alive, grasping at more of life. Let the fish fly!
Today I’m linking up with Lisa Jo over at the Five Minute Friday party…where everyone writes for five minutes, lives with what is, and spreads the love. Hop on over there and check out what others have…I guarantee you they will be far less random than a LA girl writing about fish in Seattle. Where did that come from anyhow?